41 Ways to Turn Your Dorm Into An Office

Topic: Helpful Ideas, Startups, Strategies, Top 10|


While Startup Students attracts a wide variety of entrepreneurs, it’s a safe assumption that a good chunk of you are still in college.  As an entrepreneur (and current college student myself) I’ve developed a number of strategies for balancing school, business, and life – all within the comforts of your dorm room or apartment.


Below are 41 tips for running a business on or near campus.  If you’d like to add a tip, don’t forget to leave a comment!


  1. Space is generally limited in an apartment, bedroom, or dorm.  Try reorganizing your room to create a cubicle of sorts so you can accomplish your work related tasks in a good environment.
  2. Construct a whiteboard like I did to organize your thoughts.
  3. Get a mailbox at UPS.  I wouldn’t go with a PO Box – a Suite at UPS costs about the same and holds more credibility.
  4. Make friends and use their abilities.  Associate with graphic designers, accounting majors, techies, socialites, and thinkers.
  5. Situate your desk to provide minimal distractions.
  6. Your space is limited now – but it won’t always be.  Consider purchasing modular furniture that will allow for future growth.
  7. Place your bed on risers to allow more room for storage.  As your business grows, so will your filing and storage needs.
  8. Get an 800 number that forwards to your dorm phone and cell phone.  This is an instant credibility boost and inexpensive.
  9. Maximize your space by maximizing your school resources.
  10. Invest in a laptop as opposed to an immobile desktop.
  11. Throw out that CRT monitor (you know who you are) and get a flat panel.  Your desk space will thank you.
  12. Hire your roommate to keep the place clean and quiet.  Outsourcing is key to juggling the busy life of an entrepreneur.
  13. Speaking of outsourcing, consider sites such as elance.com for a variety of your operational and technical needs.
  14. Don’t rush!  Leaving college isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, or so I’ve heard.
  15. Construct a cable management system like I did to save space and reduce clutter.
  16. Make friends with your Accounting professor.  Especially handy come tax time.
  17. Pay students to hand out flyers for your product or service.  Beer counts as payment.
  18. Use an appointment book or scheduling software to maximize your time.
  19. Develop a routine for work, school, and fun.  But leave time for unexpected projects or rush orders.
  20. Join campus organizations and clubs.  Not only will this relieve stress but they offer great networking opportunities for well beyond your college years.
  21. Offer your services or products to your college at a reduced rate if you are just getting started.
  22. No need for a fancy printer when you can use the one’s at your school’s computer lab.
  23. A simple shower curtain and some engineering can turn a corner into a cubicle.
  24. Hand off data entry or entry level graphic design work to fellow students.  Again, beer works as payment.
  25. Spend time in your school library, sometimes you forget what a great resource it is.
  26. Get out of the dorm and set up office at a coffee shop on occasion.
  27. With a dresser and an extra curtain rod, your closet can now become your office.
  28. A college campus makes a great place for meetings.
  29. Online businesses take up little space.  Perfect for the dorm bound student.
  30. Maximize space by utilizing your walls.  Calendars, important documents, filing bins, etc can all be placed on the wall to save space.
  31. Go wireless.  The less wires, the more desk space.
  32. Use chalk to advertise your business on sidewalks.
  33. Take a full load of courses.  For me at least, it seems like the more I have to do – the more I get done.
  34. When you go out, casually reinforce your need to network.  Don’t come right out and ask your friends to buy your product, rather it’s a good idea to plant the seed.
  35. Get a copy of your roommate’s schedule, and find times where you can get work done quietly.
  36. Attend events held by your dorm hall, they usually offer free food.
  37. Utilize drop shipping companies to limit inventory.
  38. Advertise directly to your University’s alumni.
  39. Don’t let your grades suffer, if for no other reason than success breeds success.
  40. Consider starting or joining an entrepreneur club on campus.
  41. More than anything else, enjoy your time in college and maintain a healthy balance of activities.


Class dismissed.

RSS Feed If you liked this post, then why not subscribe to my RSS Feed and get all my posts delivered right to your desktop!


9 Responses to “41 Ways to Turn Your Dorm Into An Office”

  1. Josh Says:

    Great post! These are some fantastic tips and I can’t wait to implement them for my dorm biz.

  2. Michelle Says:

    I love this list! Using your college/alumni connections is definitely key whether you’re still in school or have already graduated.
    If you’re a student looking to get some work experience, you should check out oDesk (https://www.odesk.com). It’s a great place for freelancers to get jobs (there are about 2,000 posted each month) and it’s free to join. By the time you graduate, you’ll have made some great business connections and will already have some experience.
    ~Michelle, oDesk

  3. Carl Mercier Says:

    I did the whole dorm / office thing when I was in college and it’s certainly not easy. Being the entrepreneur I am, I was working full time on my startup, and attending college classes. Not sleeping much was tough and quite frankly, I’m not sure I’d do what I did again: I burnt myself out bad, very bad.

    Good luck with your startup and don’t forget to get enough rest. It might just be what you need to succeed!

  4. Adnan Says:

    Awesome article Brett – that’s a fantastic list, great for all Uni entrepreneurs. Will def bookmark this for when I go to Uni next year!

  5. Brett Says:

    @Michelle: Forging connections while still in school will put you a step ahead of the game when you enter the “real” world.

    @Carl: You’re right. It’s not easy, but those who think becoming an entrepreneur will free them from the 9-5 are in for a rude awakening.

    @Adnan: Thanks for stopping by and good luck in college!

  6. Genaro Franzmann Says:

    This is the best technique to be followed, I must say that really being here and not using this will really be silly. Will you please reply with more information here? I think you have a good response and it will definitely help a lot. As this forum has really been a good platform for us all, contributing to this will really be healthy for our and your business as well. We all are waiting for a good informative response. Thanks a lot for this, waiting for more.

  7. Mark Vice Says:

    I love it!